BAD BLOOD, Australia, 2016. Starring Xavier Samuel, Morgan Griffin, Tess Fowler, Rob Macpherson, Elena Carapetis, Patrick Frost. Directed by David Pulbrook. 90 minutes. Rated MA (Strong violence).
Most of us enjoy a thriller now and then. Something a bit like the airport novels that keep us occupied and entertained.
One of the difficulties with this kind of film and for reviewers is that it is often too easy to give away serious aspects of the plot. And that would be fatal as regards Bad Blood. Best not to know anything about it before you see it.
But, it does begin with the murder, an accused murderer, his being acquitted, his coming from the United States to Adelaide, his publishing a book, his being in love – and this all within the first few minutes. But, by the 30 minute mark, there have been quite a number of clues, sinister indications, more than a touch of mystery.
One of things to say is that Adelaide photographs very nicely. The last part of the film takes place in the South Australian countryside, also photographing well.
Of course, one of the challenges of this kind of mystery is to formulate at least one theory, if not more, to be ready for the solution. This reviewer was perhaps being too smart with two possible theories, and opting for the one that was not correct!
The film is a starring vehicle for Xavier Samuel, becoming more well known for international films from the Twilight series to Anonymous to Love and Friendship, as well as being a substantial presence in homegrown films in Australia. The screenplay gives him quite a lot of scope for performance. Morgan Griffin is the veterinary expert with whom he is in love.
It can be said that there is quite a tradition of Australian films, with touches of horror, that take place in the bush, pleasant places being turned into sinister areas of fright in minutes. And the same here.
The title might be rather an obvious one but worth reflecting on. Whodunnit? Or did hedunnit it – so to speak?
Potential Films Release 12th October
Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.